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Beginners’ Italian: food and drink
Beginners’ Italian: food and drink

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3.1   Practising ordering and paying

Activity 7

Listen to the audio track and repeat the expressions. Try to match the pronunciation and intonation of the speaker as closely as possible.

Desidera?

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Mi dica.

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E per Lei?

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Vorrei…

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Per me…

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Scusi!

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Allora…

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Ecco!

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Activity 8

Now see if you can use the expressions you’ve just learned. Complete the dialogue using the following words. The first one has been done for you as an example.

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Activity 9

Now you can order some drinks yourself. Listen to the audio track and answer the questions following the prompts in English, as in the example below.

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Example

You hear: Buongiorno. Desidera?

(A coffee.)

You say: Un caffè.

You hear: Un caffè.

Culture: Al bar

Il bar is a very important part of Italian life. There are an estimated 121,000 in Italy, usually open from early morning until late evening. The bar is more like a café than an English bar, a place where one can drop in for un caffè during the working day (the so-called pausa caffè) and have a chat with friends and colleagues. Customers often share opinions on a variety of subjects ranging from politics and football, to work, gossip, cinema and fashion.

The Italian bar is probably at its busiest first thing in the morning, when people grab a coffee and a cornetto (‘croissant’) at the counter. It is busy again at lunchtime when those not going home for lunch eat a sandwich or a snack. Finally, in the early evening (at the end of the working day) people drop in for an aperitivo before dinner. Some people might also come and have a drink or an ice cream later in the evening.

Most bars, however basic, have small tables on the pavement outside where you can sit and watch the world go by and smoke if you want. As in other EU countries, smoking is not permitted inside the bar but is common practice at tables outside.

Another role played by the bar is that of a corner shop. Most of them will sell you milk if you run out. The bar-gelateria will sell you ice cream by the litre to take home for a special occasion, while at the bar-pasticceria you can buy trays of pasticcini (‘little cakes’) or dolci such as tiramisù to take to friends’ homes if you are invited for a meal.